Strong Clinical Support for Government’s guidelines on Cannabis-based products

  • Peter Dunne

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has welcomed expert clinical support of the Government’s approach to prescribing cannabis-based products from medical specialists and the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA).

Mr Dunne instructed Ministry of Health officials in March to undertake a targeted consultation with a range of medical specialists and the NZMA to determine whether the guidelines used to assess applications for prescribing cannabis-based products were still fit for purpose.

The feedback received, which is being released today, was unanimously supportive that the guidelines and process are sound.

“The consistent feedback from experts in their field was that cannabis-based products should be treated no differently to other medicines - evidence-based principles should and will continue to be followed”, says Mr Dunne.

The specialists consulted agreed that the guideline recommending that a patient be hospitalised when treatment with a non-pharmaceutical grade cannabis-based product is initiated should be removed, which has been actioned.   

“As I said in New Zealand’s National Statement to the UN General Assembly Special Session last month, identifying the greatest therapeutic benefits and determining the most appropriate ratios, dosage and delivery mechanisms will only come through a robust, scientific approach.

“Otherwise we are essentially flying blind and hoping for the best, an approach that flies in the face of evidence-based medicines policy.

“It is my hope that by releasing this feedback it will go some way to balancing out the irresponsible and ill-informed messages being passed off as fact, and provide a degree of reassurance to those who are genuinely looking for respite to significant health issues”, said Mr Dunne.

“The full range of advice I received can be viewed at the following link:

External Consultation on Guidelines to Assess Applications for Ministerial Approval to Prescribe Cannabis-based Products (docx, 205 KB)